Archive for May, 2010

Managing cords and cables

Cords, cables, and hoses are either stiff and difficult to stow in a small place or flexible and easy to tangle. This means cord management is a ripe target for innovation. Cords need to be coiled so they can easily be removed from stowage without being tangled. Some sort of container for the cord will help keep it protected as well as help keep it from tangling with other cords. One container convenient for RV’s is the cloth conference bag. You can find these at thrift stores for a minimal expense. Other options are fancier, look prettier, or just more convenient, maybe.

Caveat: If you are running power through a cord, keeping it coiled, especially in a confined space, may not be a good idea. Power cords dissipate heat and need appropriate air flow.

Cool Tools takes note of the Cordpro┬« as a way to manage cords, cables, and hoses. Following the link to the Cordpro website finds a tip that might be useful with or without the device. “Cords operate more easily when coated with a thin layer of F21 Turtle Wax Super Protectant before storing in your Cordpro┬«. Additionally, this provides ultraviolet protection, which will increase the life of your cords and hoses.”

The key to this cord management tool is that it uses a divided flexible plastic container to hold rolled up cord. Half is wound around one side and half around the other. The flexible lip holds the cord but allows it to be pulled out or rewound. The two compartments allow pulling cord out from each end.

Cableyoyo is an example of this technique for USB cables. That helps keep your laptop workstation and accessories neat.

If YoYos aren’t your style, try turtles. The container store calls them Cable Turtles.

Ehow has a video on using a bucket for a similar purpose. That doesn’t have the ‘pull from either end’ convenience but may be something to consider.

Lifehacker has Top 10 Ways to Get Cables Under Control with some good ideas.

WikiHow describes How to Coil Any Kind of Cord to inhibit tangling. Flip-coiling describes the technique with pictures.

If you’ve got an RV with 50 amp service, you might consider looking into how the Navy trains sailors to manage hawsers for ideas on dealing with your power cord. Those cords are heavy and seem to have a mind of their own.

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Phone options

If you live on your phone, the unlimited cell phone minutes plan is something you might try to hold on to. They may not be available for long.

If you don’t need your telephone with you 24×7 and reducing costs is a consideration, WiseBread has some ideas in Kick that Cell Phone Contract: Save with a Prepaid Plan.

There are two basic cell phone networks. You may have seen the advertisements about who has the best coverage. One network uses CDMA and its major provider is Verizon. The other uses GSM and its major provider is AT&T. They are not compatible with each other and phones for one will not work on the other.

Some of the pre-paid cell phone providers contract with Verizon, AT&T, and other network providers. Tracfone, for instance, will sell you a GSM or a CDMA phone depending upon where you say you want to use it. If you are in Reno, Tracfone prefers a GSM phone. If in Gerlach or Doyle, the choices are CDMA phones. Verizon has better coverage in the less populated areas, it seems but AT&T better coverage in town.

Another factor to consider is that GSM phones use a SIM card and CDMA phones don’t. The SIM card is a little memory card that you plug into your phone that contains the service information from your cell phone provider. It is a lot easier to plug that into the phone for both you and the phone company than having to type in long strings of numbers on a CDMA phone to do the same thing. That is why the CDMA folks are looking at A RUIM card (also R-UIM) or Re-Usable Identification Module as a means to control service more easily.

Note that pre-paid cell phone service is often very basic. The phones are inexpensive and don’t have a lot of the bells and whistles the contract providers offer. You will usually have to look for other options for I’net access.

A pre-paid cell service can be a very inexpensive option as a part of a more complete plan. If you wait until you find a wifi hotspot, you can use Skype or MagicJack to the long calls and keep the pre-paid calls short.

The market is in a turmoil and things are changing quite rapidly. There are many different ways to do things. That provides opportunities for meeting your needs at low cost but it also means it is easy to miss something. Keep your options and your eyes open. It can be fun.

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Springtime wars at the home base

The weather’s going to break – sometime (the forecasters think this Memorial Day weekend). With all the moisture this spring the weed invasion is massive and persistent. Some these weeds are just a tall grass, some become shrubs and bushes, and some can be dangerous or a significant nuisance. Goatheads (Tribulus terrestris) even has its own website.

Diligence and determination are needed to battle this foe. It is a real fight. It’s a fight that can’t be won in a season. It takes many years to deplete the seed bank in the soil. If you take a season off, you’ll be back where you started before you know it. Try not to get discouraged. Talk to your neighbors and try to rally support for the cause. Lots of folks are still unaware of the level of nastiness this plant can achieve. If we work together, and not try to do it alone, we really can make a difference.

While some consider the thumbtacks produced by T. terrestris a nutritional supplement, possibly as a sex drive enhancement or a Chinese medicine, most do not want to be anywhere near a crop of such noxious weeds that create organic thumbtacks that attack your shoes, tires, and other vulnerable surfaces.

The war is of such desperation that some staunch believers in only natural methods will resort to chemical warfare, herbicides, to quench the assault. Otherwise, you have to crowd out T. terrestris with other vegetation or go after it the old fashioned way, one plant at a time.

Then again, T. terrestris might be a part of your home base defensive system. It might not keep mice and squirrels out of your RV but a good cover of thumbtacks in the yard surrounding your home base might deter burglars and vandals, somewhat, maybe; At least it’d keep them on the driveway and sidewalks. Your neighbors might not appreciate such an effort, though, as they’d get the benefits of your crop.

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Doin’ it down under – the Australian RV experience

Ken and Keanette Sellars Show and Tell – Australian Dream RV’s. Then dig down the links! See the Sellar’s travelogue links to the International Scout Owner’s Club and May 2010 Ken and Jeanette’s trip across central Australia with photo galleries from their trip acriss central Australia in May 2010.

If you thought the Great Basin had some wide open spaces and scenic vistas, check these pictures!

Google says Alice Springs is 12,550 miles from Nevada with about 53 travel days to get there. That might be a challenge.

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Knots, rope, line, and Grog

When you are trying to tie something down whether boating, climbing, fishing, or just securing the load, getting the right knot can help improve the odds of keeping it where you want it. Animated Knots by Grog shows you how to tie knots with animations for various needs and describes the issues with each choice. Do also check out the page on rope care. A lot of times, rope just gets tossed in with a pile of other stuff and gets tangled, dirty, or worse. If you want a rope you can depend upon, you need to use the right rope and one that has been properly cared for.

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Online limitations and connectivity

When you go for I’net on the road, you may find that it is often accompanied with use restrictions. Wireless ‘n wifi (ht escapees forum) took a look at what the common five billion characters of information per month limit will do for you. The analysis indicates that that volume is good for more than a million e-mail messages, thirty thousand web page views, ten thousand low resolution images, all the way down to just a handful of movies.

If you have I’net access with a gadget that plugs into your computer and wonder how you could use more than one computer with that gadget, Wireless ‘n wifi sells routers that allow you to set up your own local network with an I’net gateway using your gadget. It has some good information that can help you understand how it all works.

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WBCCI SNU May Newsletter up

SNU Folks,

The May 2010 Newsletter has been posted. Links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can also be found there, too.

May Rally at Ft Sage

Thursday May 20 to Sunday May 23, 2010 3 day Rally at the Ft Sage BLM campground near Doyle, CA Off US 395 North. Be sure and bring wood for campfires.

Note that mapping programs may route you via the south end of Hackstaff Road off the Doyle loop. This route is not recommended because of a severely deficient bridge crossing Long Valley Creek on that route.

Topics in the May newsletter

  • April at Pyramid Lake
  • SNU business
  • May rally at Ft Sage
  • Ideas and input
  • Williams Werkes Rises in Southern California
  • New Friends in Australia
  • Wally’s books

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SNU HQ

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SNU Rally at Pyramid Lake April 2010

Squeezed between spring storms, the Pyramid Lake weekend made for a great Rally outing.

See the photo gallery!

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